Up With Which I Will Not Put

Up with which I will not put, something this is.

I almost used this line as a Facebook status update today for no other reason than that it passed through my head. I didn’t. I worried that people might think I actually meant something by it. That feeling of having to watch what I say even in jest…I’m not fan. Up with which I will not put, something this is.

For people who aren’t English majors, I’m going to sound condescending for a minute while I explain that this line is a grammar joke. Don’t end sentences with prepositions, the style book says. As a result, you find the most ridiculous sentences ever where people have tried too hard to be all about the rule and not at all about what makes sense in real life. Up with which I will not put.

I had this idea today that just as a blog game I would riff off of this line and form an ongoing brainstorming list of my “Up with which I will not put” somethings. I thought better of this idea when it occurred to me that the world around me probably needs me to pace myself on pointing out its imperfections, tolerable and otherwise.

Thus, I will just offer one for consideration today: a sense of self-defeat. Definitely something up with which I will not put. Not in myself. Not in others. Not in a boat. Not with a goat. Not even while eating green eggs and ham.

If you are telling yourself something needs to be done that can’t be done, your very next query to yourself ought to be, “Why not?”

Last year at the National Writing Project conference, I heard someone speak who kept saying something like, “The people in the room are sufficient to begin.”

The people in the room are sufficient to begin to find solutions.

The people in the room are sufficient for making the world a better place.

The people in the room are sufficient for helping each other overcome problems.

I believe this. Even if there is only one person in the room, and that person is you, the people in the room are sufficient to begin.

This is my sermon to myself for today.

You are sufficient to try.

You are sufficient to meet challenges.

You are sufficient to take risks.

You are sufficient to notice and to care.

You are sufficient to learn what needs learning.

You are sufficient to do what needs doing.

You may not be able to save the world single-handedly. You may need a whole lot of help along the way, a whole lot of mental and physical and spiritual fortitude, but you are sufficient to begin.

Praise the Lord, amen, pass the no sugar added pudding, and God bless.

3 thoughts on “Up With Which I Will Not Put”

  • I usually try to catch your blog every chance i get.
    today’s seemed to hit a lot close to home. thank you for being the same witty insightful person that you always are. Thank you for being in my “world”. Thank you.

  • When I’ve tried to draw a line lately, it seems the line is on the beach, and the tide comes in. I draw it again, but I’m not sure it’s in the same place. I needed to remember there still are things up with which I will not put.


  • I did not take it as an inside grammar joke-I thought it was Yodaspeak-ironic because just yesterday I told a student, “Do or do not-there is no try” when I heard “I’m trying!!” for the fifth time. Keep blogging; I enjoy it immensely.

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